04/25/2007 11:00PM

Wiggins looks for repeat in Milwaukee Avenue


CHICAGO - This is the last call for Illinois-bred dirt horses until next fall - and that means Wiggins is in town.

Wiggins began his career with Chicago-based Kenny Spraggins, was sold privately at 2 and turned over to Chicago-based Tony Granitz, but wound up two years ago in Kentucky with trainer Dale Romans. The hope was that Wiggins could take it up a notch, perhaps be a graded stakes horse rather than just a really good Illinois-bred. But Wiggins was beaten more than 34 lengths in the Grade 1 Whitney two summers ago, his first foray into top-class racing, and his close fifth last fall in the Grade 1 Clark at Churchill was by far his best showing in six graded stakes.

But among Illinois-breds, Wiggins has looked like a man against boys - sometimes. He was beaten last fall as the odds-on favorite in the High Alexander Stakes at Hawthorne, but won the Milwaukee Avenue Handicap a year ago by four lengths and figures to be heavily favored to repeat in the race Saturday. The Milwaukee Avenue is one of six stakes with purses of about $100,000 - depending on which horses actually earn purse money - restricted to Illinois-breds at Hawthorne. Sunday marks the meet's closing day, and on Friday racing moves to Arlington Park, which sports a new synthetic racing surface. The next Illinois-bred stakes day with dirt racing comes in November.

Seven others were entered in the 1 1/16-mile Milwaukee Avenue, but Stonehouse was cross-entered in the Land of Lincoln, a six-furlong race restricted to 3-year-olds.

"We paid the extra $750 to take a look at both of them," said trainer Spanky Broussard, declining to show his hand.

Stonehouse didn't handle a Delta Downs track that Broussard called "sticky" when he finished fifth last out in the Sportsman's Paradise Stakes, but won two straight route races at Fair Grounds, including a March 10 win over Reporting for Duty, who finished second in the Illinois Derby.

Tenpointfive, who beat Wiggins when he wired the High Alexander last November, is back in the Milwaukee Avenue, but seems shaky to repeat his upset from last fall. Tenpointfive came into that race having won 3 of 4 recent starts, but this time he hasn't raced since finishing 10th in a second-level allowance Dec. 9 at Woodbine. Tenpointfive, however, has good early speed, and at least should be a pace factor.

So, too, should Holy City, who comes off a third-place finish in the Dowd Mile at Fonner Park. Off-the-pace threats include Zippy Slew and Da Grizz, who finished a neck apart in an April 14 Hawthorne allowance.